Ethics & Global Politics is a peer reviewed international Open Access journal whose aim is to foster theoretical contributions to the study of ethics and global politics. It does not favour any philosophical perspective or political problem but emphasizes the importance of closing the gap between normative ethics and political theory, on the one hand, and contemporary political problems in the global domain, on the other. The journal provides a forum for original research articles, reviews and research notes that integrate normative issues within philosophy and political theory with political problems related to processes and phenomena that transgress traditional distinctions between regional, national, international and global levels of politics. In particular it encourages contributions that provide novel ways of approaching and conceptualizing the political challenges the world faces today, for instance in relation to global institutional arrangements, environmental protection, policy development, poverty, technology and knowledge, future generations, and migration.


The Globethics library contains articles of Ethics & Global Politics as of vol. 1(2008) to current.

Recent Submissions

  • Effective altruism, tithing, and a principle of progressive giving

    Eamon Aloyo (Taylor & Francis Group, 2023-08-01)
    ABSTRACTHow much should someone contribute to trying to prevent unnecessary deaths and severe hardships? MacAskill, Mogensen, and Ord propose tithing for most of the rich (as measured by income), which has been influential in the effective altruism community. My aim in this article is to contribute, through amending their proposal, to their important project of searching for a weak or very weak principle of sacrifice that would still revise upward how much money goes to the most effective organizations. I do so by presenting four objections to their argument based on demandingness, fairness, net wealth, and historical and contemporary injustices. Then, I show that a principle of progressive can overcome these objections and better fits the reasons MacAskill, Mogensen, and Ord give in favour of their principle than their proposed operationalization of tithing.
  • The function of solidarity and its normative implications

    Carlo Burelli; Francesco Camboni (Taylor & Francis Group, 2023-08-01)
    ABSTRACTMany lament that solidarity is declining, implying there is something good about it; but what is solidarity and why should we want it? Here, we defend an original functionalist re-interpretation of solidarity. Political solidarity plays a key functional role in a polity’s persistence through time. Thus, we should want institutions that foster solidarity. This paper is divided into three parts. In the first, we draw on the philosophy of biology to pinpoint what counts as a proper function, in a way that is naturalistic, objective, and selective. On this aetiological account, a sharp distinction between functional needs (e.g. the pumping of blood) and functional mechanisms (e.g. the valve that pumps blood) is drawn. In the second part of the paper, we propose that solidarity should be understood as an aetiological function of society. This new conception sheds light on the widely acknowledged, yet seldom clarified connection between two common readings of solidarity: solidarity as a set of feelings of mutual kinship (its functional need), and solidarity as a set of redistributive institutions (a key functional mechanism). The third part concludes that this new functional conception of solidarity provides normative reasons to foster solidarity.
  • Collective political capabilities

    Avery Kolers (Taylor & Francis Group, 2023-04-01)
    ABSTRACTMonique Deveaux’s Poverty, Solidarity, and Poor-led Social Movements makes a significant contribution to contemporary capability theories by challenging their individualism. Mainline versions of the Capabilities Approach (CA), including those developed by Martha Nussbaum, Amartya Sen, and Ingrid Robeyns, insist on a methodological and normative individualism. And with good reason: communitarianism most often reinscribes patriarchal power, especially within the family. Deveaux, however, argues that this individualism yields a depoliticized account of poverty as capability deprivation, thereby downplaying or even denying the agency of the poor. But poor-led social movements politicize poverty, understanding it as a social and political relation between individuals and institutions. These movements build collective political capabilities: capabilities that can be exercised only by groups or that promote collective goods. The current paper explicates, extends, and defends this powerful challenge to mainline capability theories.
  • On why the poor have duties too

    Ashwini Vasanthakumar (Taylor & Francis Group, 2023-04-01)
    ABSTRACTI argue that ascribing duties to the poor better realizes Deveaux’s methodological and normative commitments; address some of the concerns such ascription raises; and indicate how Deveaux’s rich description of collective and individual agency-building can contribute to theorizing moral agency in non-ideal circumstances more generally.
  • Acting in solidarity with the poor? Some conceptual and practical challenges

    Catherine Lu (Taylor & Francis Group, 2023-04-01)
    ABSTRACTMonique Deveaux’s Poverty, Solidarity, and Poor-Led Social Movements makes a timely, compelling, and important intervention in the philosophical literature on poverty and global justice, and improves our understanding of the nature and extent of responsibilities of variously situated agents towards the poor. Deveaux’s focus on poor-led social movements emphasizes that effective poverty reduction requires building up the collective capacities of the poor to engage in joint collective action to oppose and dismantle unjust structures. This approach politicizes poverty and provides a powerful refutation of some previous approaches that primarily formulated responses to global poverty to consist in mere charity to lighten the poor’s deprivations, or top-down solutions imposed by technocrats and other development experts. Deveaux then extends the concept of solidarity to characterize the political responsibility of the nonpoor, which consists of acting in political solidarity with poor-led organizations and movements. It is this latter move to extend the concept of solidarity to characterize poor-nonpoor cooperative activities that I question in this commentary. When the concept of solidarity, understood as identification-based joint action, is stretched to encompass cooperation between all those who may act together to resist, oppose, and dismantle the structures of domination and oppression that constitute poverty, there is the danger of obscuring the alienation and oppositional social positions that attend conditions of structural injustice. To acknowledge the limits and dilemmas of solidarity practices between the poor and nonpoor is perhaps a sober reminder of one of the major costs of living in conditions of structural injustice.
  • Introduction to Symposium: Monique Deveaux’s Poverty, Solidarity, and Poor-Led Social Movements

    Margaret Kohn; Avery Kolers (Taylor & Francis Group, 2023-04-01)
    ABSTRACTThis introductory article summarizes some key elements of Monique Deveaux’s book Poverty, Solidarity, and Poor-Led Social Movements and situates that book in the philosophical literature on global poverty. It then provides an outline of the symposium contributions by Ashwini Vasanthakumar, Luis Cabrera, Brooke Ackerly, Catherine Lu, and Avery Kolers.
  • Against ‘The Poor’ as a global category

    Luis Cabrera (Taylor & Francis Group, 2023-04-01)
    ABSTRACTMonique Deveaux’s book Poverty, Solidarity, and Poor-Led Social Movements is an important intervention in global justice dialogues. It explores with nuance the case for viewing persons facing poverty globally as potential agents of justice, and it does excellent work in offering exemplar groups where that potential is actualized. The book may put the final nail in framings of global justice as primarily transfers from ‘rich to poor.’ Yet, it also has a tendency to implicitly reinforce those same framings, in part by adopting a Global North/South dichotomy, and in particular by treating ‘the poor’ as a category of persons. Such a label may homogenize, presenting persons in ways that do not fully acknowledge their agency and multifaceted humanity. It may also undermine one of the core aims in Deveaux’s account, reinforcing forms of global social distance rather than highlighting possibilities for solidarity across borders. Alternate framings are proposed.
  • Grounding the political theory of global injustice in the actions of poor-led movements: a comment on Poverty, Solidarity, and Poor-Led Social Movements, Monique Deveaux, Oxford University Press, 2021

    Brooke Ackerly (Taylor & Francis Group, 2023-04-01)
    ABSTRACTIn Poverty, Solidarity, and Poor-Led Social Movements, Monique Deveaux builds a political theory of poverty as relational and responsibility for injustice as solidaristic. Identifying the ways that poor-led movements have politically theorized and acted, Deveaux develops a theory of relational poverty that entails politicizing poverty which requires local-level organizing, consciousness-raising, resisting injustice and developing and demanding alternatives, and engaging in public debate and discourse. She goes on to argue that the praxis of poor-led movements reveals normative commitments to mutuality, deference and deep listening, and risk taking. These enable movements of people in poverty to take on the injustice of poverty together across difference, privilege, and other obstacles to transformative (solidaristic) politics. Deveaux provides a mode for doing grounded normative theory (GNT) by relying on secondary literature. GNT is a methodology for doing political theory that destabilizes the epistemological authority of the political theory of the academy by treating lived experience – words and actions – as providing relevant text for analysis. The methodology is particularly important for theories related to justice. Deveaux demonstrates how this can be done with secondary sources thus enabling comprehensive engagement without avoiding burdening social movement actors with interviews or other modes of accommodating researchers.
  • Republicanism and the legitimacy of state border controls

    Szilárd János Tóth (Taylor & Francis Group, 2023-04-01)
    ABSTRACTA number of recent articles have invoked the republican ideal of non-domination to justify either open borders, and/or the reduction of states’ discretionary powers to unilaterally determine immigration policy. In this paper, I show that such arguments are one-sided, as they fail to fully account for the deep ambiguity of the very ideal which they invoke. In fact, non-domination lends just as powerful support to maintaining state border controls as it does to dismantling them. There are only two exceptions to the rule. It is well established that promoting non-domination demands, one the one hand, that refugees be admitted, and second, that all migrants have a right to contest decisions concerning their own admission. But aside from these things, the policy implications of the ideal are unclear. In itself, therefore, it is insufficient to justify either open borders, or the reduction of states said discretionary powers. Such arguments will have to rely on other, additional moral criteria.
  • Subjection and inclusion: on Ludvig Beckman’s The Boundaries of Democracy

    Devon Cass (Taylor & Francis Group, 2023-03-01)
    ABSTRACTLudvig Beckman’s The Boundaries of Democracy offers a sophisticated account of the boundary problem, developing a version of the all-subjected principle understood to involve relations of ‘de facto authority’. I explain the central claims of the book, raise some problems, and suggest some ways in which I think the account could be fruitfully further developed.
  • Proportionality in cyberwar and just war theory

    Fredrik D. Hjorthen; James Pattison (Taylor & Francis Group, 2023-02-01)
    ABSTRACTWhich harms and benefits should be viewed as relevant when considering whether to launch cyber-measures? In this article, we consider this question, which matters because it is central to determining whether cyber-measures should be launched. Several just war theorists hold a version of what we call the ‘Restrictive View’, according to which there are restrictions on the sorts of harms and benefits that should be included in proportionality assessments about the justifiability of going to war (whether cyber or kinetic). We discuss two such views – the Just Cause Restrictive View and Rights-based Restrictive View – and find both wanting. By contrast, we defend what we call the ‘Permissive View’. This holds that all potential goods and bads should be included in proportionality decisions about cyber-measures, even those that appear to be trivial, and where the various harms and benefits are given different weights, according to their agent-relative and agent-neutral features. We argue further that accepting the Permissive View has broader implications for the ethical frameworks governing cyberwar, both in terms of whether cyberattack provide just cause for coercive responses, including kinetic warfare and cyber-responses, and whether cyber-measures should be governed by just war theory or a new theory for cyber-operations.
  • Refugees, membership, and state system legitimacy

    Rebecca Buxton; Jamie Draper (Taylor & Francis Group, 2022-11-01)
    In the literature on refugeehood in political theory, there has been a recent turn towards what have been called “state system legitimacy” views. These views derive an account of states’ obligations to refugees from a broader picture of the conditions for international legitimacy. This paper seeks to develop the state system legitimacy view of refugeehood by subjecting the most developed version of it—the account developed by David Owen—to critical scrutiny. We diagnose an ambiguity in Owen’s theory of refugeehood, in the concept of political membership, and unpack the implications of this ambiguity for state system legitimacy views. First, we reconstruct the key aspects of Owen’s account of refugeehood and show how it represents an advance over competing theories. Then we discuss the methodological underpinnings of Owen’s account, showing the constraints and opportunities faced by state system legitimacy views. Next, we raise some problems for the conceptual distinctions that Owen develops between different types of refugee protection: asylum, sanctuary, and refuge. The underlying feature that leads to these problems is an ambiguity in the concept of political membership, which is at the core of Owen’s view of refugeehood. Finally, we distinguish two interpretations of political membership in the institution of refugeehood and chart out some possible ways forward for state system legitimacy views. The critique developed here is a sympathetic one, aimed at the further development of state system legitimacy views.
  • Citizenship as strict liability: a review of Avia Pasternak’s Responsible Citizens, Irresponsible States

    Bennet Francis (Taylor & Francis Group, 2022-09-01)
    States commit wrongs that demand redress. In her recent book, Avia Pasternak considers the circumstances under which it is legitimate to impose the cost of redress upon the state’s citizens at large. Her answer is that it is legitimate to impose reparative burdens on citizens only when they participate in their state intentionally, specifically, when they intend to play their part in maintaining state institutions. The book thus has revisionary implications for current international legal practice, given reparative burdens are currently imposed upon states no matter their internal relations. The book’s persuasive argument will be of interest not only to scholars of normative political theory and social ontology, but also international legal theorists. That said, its core claim that citizen participation must be ‘genuine’ would benefit from further specification through future scholarship.
  • Attributing what to whom? Nations, value-adding activities, and territorial rights

    Hu Li (Taylor & Francis Group, 2022-09-01)
    In recent years, political theorists have begun to systematically consider the concept and justification of territorial rights, and advance rival theories of state’s (or nation’s) rights over territory. This article aims to advance our understanding of the challenge facing territorial rights theories, by closely analysing one of the most developed and important theories of territory, viz., the nationalist theory. It argues that nationalist theory, which employs a quasi-Lockean argument for territorial rights, faces a problem of attribution: What value-adding activities can be attributed to a cultural nation, which is viewed as the primary holder of territorial rights by the theory? It proceeds to examine three approaches to solve the problem of attribution – but argues that all of them fail. In the concluding section, the paper explores the potential implications of this largely critical argument for all attempts to develop a coherent and plausible normative theory of territory.
  • Migrants by plane and migrants by stork: can we refuse citizenship to one, but not the other?

    Tim Meijers (Taylor & Francis Group, 2022-07-01)
    States combine the routine refusal of citizenship to migrants with policies that grant newborns of citizens (or residents) full membership of society without questions asked. This paper asks what, if anything, can justify this differential treatment of the two types of newcomers. It explores arguments for differential treatment based on the differential environmental impact, different impact on the (political) culture of the society in question and differences between the positions of the newcomers themselves. I conclude that, although some justification for differential treatment exists, the case for it is weaker than one may expect and the grounds on which it can be justified are surprising and problematic.
  • Should we open borders? Yes, but not in the name of global justice

    Borja Niño Arnaiz (Taylor & Francis Group, 2022-05-01)
    Some proponents of global justice question that opening borders is an effective strategy to alleviate global poverty and reduce inequalities between countries. This article goes a step further and asks whether an open borders policy is compatible with the objectives of global distributive justice. The latter, it will be argued, entails the ordering of needs, the assignment of priorities and the preference or subordination of some interests over others. In other words, global justice requires the establishment of conditions and restrictions on mobility. On the contrary, open borders claim an unrestricted and unconditional (not unqualified) freedom of movement, limited only by public health considerations, serious threats to national security or democratic institutions, but not by an aspiration for maximizing global redistributive utility. The main point is that not only would freedom of movement be instrumentalized, losing its presumptive moral force, but ultimately open borders as a remedy of global justice are an oxymoron. The article concludes with an alternative defence of freedom of international movement.
  • Reciprocity and the duty to stay

    Daniel Dzah (Taylor & Francis Group, 2022-05-01)
    Some restrictionist arguments justifying the duty to stay as a means of addressing medical brain drain have relied on reciprocity as the moral basis for their policy proposals. In this essay, I argue that such reciprocity-based justifications for the duty to stay ignore crucial conditions of fittingness as relates to the funding of medical training.
  • ‘Where you live should not determine whether you live’. Global justice and the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines

    Göran Collste (Taylor & Francis Group, 2022-05-01)
    In 2020, the world faced a new pandemic. The corona infection hit an unprepared world, and there were no medicines and no vaccines against it. Research to develop vaccines started immediately and in a remarkably short time several vaccines became available. However, despite initiatives for global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, vaccines have so far become accessible only to a minor part of the world population. In this article, I discuss the global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines from an ethical point of view. I reflect on what ethical principles should guide the global distribution of vaccines and what global justice and international solidarity imply for vaccine distribution and I analyse the reasons for states to prioritize their own citizens. My focus is on ethical reasons for and against ‘vaccine nationalism’ and ‘vaccine cosmopolitanism.’ My point of departure is the appeal for international solidarity from several world leaders, arguing that ‘Where you live should not determine whether you live’. I discuss the COVAX initiative to enable a global vaccination and the proposal from India and South Africa to the World Trade Organization to temporarily waive patent rights for vaccines. In the final section, I argue for global vaccine sufficientarianism, which is a modified version of vaccine cosmopolitanism.

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